Shrimp Salad With Avocado and Pasta Shells

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IMG_6444Despite Toronto experiencing a cooler than normal summer (so far), there are days when the last thing you want to do is sweat it out in the kitchen or even tend to the grill!

We can’t stop eating. The thought of subsisting purely on nuts and fruits is out of the question as well. I do however enjoy pasta salads but only if they they are bright and full of flavour.

This dish was inspired from a photograph in the latest issue of Gastronomos where the focus of the issue’s dish is “light cooking”. Among the array of of dishes was a photograph of this salad but alas, no recipe.

I was so smitten with the photo that I had to have this salad. I winged it, based on my cooking experience and taste and I think I came up with a delicious summer meal that I’m sure you’ll all rush out to make.

On the topic of shrimp, some leftover shrimp (if that’s possible) could be used from the previous night’s BBQ, you could grill some or use the frozen cocktail shrimp available at most grocers. Thaw in cold water, rinse and pat-dry.IMG_6448

This recipe is for two as it’s summer. You might be a couple just sitting on your balcony or rooftop of the apartment, a married pair with a rare evening where the kids are out or at the grandparents.

Regardless, tonight – make something simple, focus your attention on each other and enjoy the warm summer breeze and savour the summer – for she’s gone too quickly.IMG_6449

Shrimp Salad With Avocado and Pasta Shells

(for two)

10-12 medium-sized cooked shrimp (thawed from frozen is fine)

10 medium to large pasta shells

2 medium-sized ripe avocados

1/4 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. of Dijon mustard

juice and zest of half a lemon

juice and zest of half a lime

1 large handful of rocket (dandlion greens), rinsed and patted-dry

1 tomato, halved and diced

pinch of chilli flakes

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

half a cup of fresh basil leaves, hand-torn

  1. Place a pot of water on the stove-top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and add your pasta shells and cook to “al dente”, as per package instructions.
  2. Place your frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water. Once thawed, peel the shells (if any) but leave the tails on. Rinse, pat-dry and reserve.
  3. In a large bowl, add your minced garlic, lemon juice (reserve the zest) and mustard and whisk together. Now add a slow and steady stream of extra-virgin olive oil until it becomes emulsified. Add your sliced onions and toss. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
  4. Cut your avocados in half, remove the pits and remove the meat of the avocado whole (with a large spoon). Cut into slices and fan them out on each serving plate. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime on the avocados (prevent them from turning) brown and reserve the lime zest.
  5. As soon as your pasta shells are cooked, remove from the water and drain. While they are still hot, add the pasta shells to the dressing along with the shrimp, basil leaves, rocket leaves, diced tomatoes, lime and lemon zest and chilli flakes. Gently toss with some salad spoons and divide and plate on top of your bed of avocado slices.
  6. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

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© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

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35 Comments for “Shrimp Salad With Avocado and Pasta Shells”


I love pasta salads, too. This one has all the ingredients I love and I will definitely be making it (or something very similar)


Yeah, I agree with you, this is the kind of pasta salad I love: loaded with bright flavours and in a light dressing… NOT a pasty, bland thing drowned in mayo!!! I have to say, never have I seen avocados in pasta salads, but why not?! Great inspiration here Peter!
Left-over shrimp is a fallacy!


Fresh, delightful and very tasty looking Peter! A great idea for when it warms up in Sydney…and I do love those pasta shells!


Oh, I LOVE it! It’s gorgeous. We usually only use those large pasta shells for stuffing, but they make a gorgeous addition to this salad, Peter.


I had a really icky dinner tonight and this post almost made me cry – too many of my favorite ingredients here! Oh, well, that’s what I got for not cooking.

I really loved that you used the large shells UN-stuffed. Cool!


We had a cooler summer than normal as well. So I was back cooking pastas with sauces. Suns is coming our way and this would be delactable with summer weather.


I’m not complaining about the cooler weather…but the solid week of rain…well…not thrilled.

The salad looks fresh and light; perfect for a lovely outdoor supper.



This is it. I’ve been surfing food blogs for my dinner and have found it. But, no shrimp, instead there’s some left-over bbq’d chicken that will do nicely. Thanks


This is summer on a plate and on it’s own the salad would be enough, but the pasta shells just gives it body and a whole lot of deliciousness!!!! Well done, my friend, you got me hooked!!!


we’ve been having a cool summer so far too – the last three days were very hot, but the remaining days have been lovely rather than the usual stifling hot


another colorful and seafood-y dish. this one’s saved for the shrimp-hater in me by the gorgeous, creamy avocado. i could eat my weight in those things.


Such a gorgeous salad I can see why you wanted to make it! Summer does leave way to quickly for those of us in the Northern climes…


Great colors and flavors Peter! Love light pastas in the summer and the shrimp and avocado here look great.

Nuts and fruit won’t cut it for me either …


Even winging it, there’s no way you can go wrong with shrimp- it just makes everything delicious, doesn’t it? Love the fresh flavors! :D


I think my boys might actually eat this, so I won’t banish them to the grandparents just yet–although you’re onto a good thing there!

Seriously mouthwatering. We’re not getting ANY heat over here, so this just might have to do for a rain day!!

Thanks Peter, it’s lovely.


Lovely looking salad but do you know I don’t like avocado – I want to like them but I don’t :(
They look lovely in your salad – perfect for hot days.


Lovely salad Peter. Those big shells are great, whimsical almost, I can imagine playing at the beach before dinner, picking up the shells and the shrimp…
Hope you are having a fun summer!


I am a huge fan of shrimp salads! This one looks perfect for summer. You should also try the combo of arugula, white beans, and shrimp… really really scrumptious.